Little short-term potential in floundering Jays squad
Local die-hard Blue Jays fans may have long wait ahead before team achieves greatness
Remember Alex Anthopoulos? Yep, he’s the man who patched together a more- than- decent lineup that took the Toronto Blue Jays to a pair of league playoff finals.
Well, now he is in Atlanta and rebuilding the Braves into a powerhouse, one that threatens to win its second conference championship in 2018-19.
And to ensure that happens, he has just signed one of the greatest athletes to ever perform with the Blue Jays.
Now the general manager of the Braves, Anthopoulos has guaranteed his team an outstanding power hitter in the middle of the lineup who can also play third base with the best of them.
And for his services this com- ing season, Josh Donaldson will receive a tidy $23 million. Not bad for an aging star. But, oh, how he could inspire Canadian baseball fans if he had remained in Toronto.
You may remember he experienced one injury after another and barely got on the field the entire 2017-18 campaign. It now appears, according to comments, he felt the Blue Jays’ training staff was way off base and failed to provide the proper treatment. It definitely didn’t take long for him to return to the field and to show his great talents late last season after being traded to Cleveland.
It’s apparently true that Anthopoulos drained the farm system in order to obtain players like Donaldson but he filled the seats with 50,000 fans on a fairly regular basis. Last year that number was notably less and the new management, while restocking the farm, has accomplished little in placing a competitive team on the field; they had their worst season in well over a decade last year.
And fans aren’t buying promises of greatness nor are they rushing to snap up season’s tickets as they view their team as one in disarray. And they love Alex Anthopoulos so much, he received overwhelming applause when he appeared in Rogers Cen- tre last season.
Certainly, the Jays’ management have made some moves but mostly in the coaching ranks. Charlie Montoya will serve as the new manager, replacing John Gibbons, and is being well received. Only the pitching coach and third base coach are being retained, with new people in place they hope will help spark a resurgence.
But Blue Jays watchers – the so-called experts – see little shortterm fixes being undertaken. In the long term, it appears as though a good many young men who have developed their skills in the minors could make an impact. But will the fans and sponsors be prepared to wait that long?
This coming season should see some interesting things taking place but it’s unlikely the positives will come from the pitching staff. According to the experts, the Jays will be going on hope – hope that Marcus Stroman will have a comeback and that Aaron Sanchez will recover from injuries long enough to throw up some good numbers. After that, who knows?
And so, Canada’s team is drifting at mid sea and the life rafts seem a little leaky.
Even with so many negative vibes emanating around MLB about the hopes for the Jays, you can count on a good many fans right here in Sackville living and dying on every pitch. Let’s hope management can find and sign one or two reliable pitchers before it’s too late.
Perhaps those diehard locals might consider taking up golf or tennis for the next couple of seasons.